Jenin tells the story of Palestine

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Smoke rises after Israeli forces’ aerial bombardment attack on the city of Jenin, West Bank on June 19, 2023 [Nedal Eshtayah – Anadolu Agency]

Jenin refugee camp is just one kilometre square, but is home to 12,000 Palestinians. It lies seventy kilometres north of Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank, and very close to the part of Palestine occupied since 1948 which now forms the occupation state. The people of Jenin have sacrificed their lives for freedom and dignity, and created a legend of resistance to the occupation, so much so that the Gaza Strip no longer monopolises resistance.

The camp has stood alone in the fierce war waged against its residents by the Zionist army, which invaded on 19 June with its Apache helicopters and armoured vehicles. Six Palestinians, including a child, were martyred and dozens were injured. However, the heroes of Jenin did not stand idly by, asking for the help of their Arab brothers who have rushed to normalise relations with the enemy state, nor did they ask for the support of the pro-Israel international community, which turns a blind eye to the crimes committed against Palestinian civilians. Instead, they confronted the attack, defended their camp, and gave the enemy a harsh lesson, damaging seven military vehicles with roadside bombs and wounding seven soldiers. A helicopter was also damaged, according to the Israeli army itself.

READ: The extraordinary Palestinians of Jenin will not surrender

A few hours after the attack on the camp, the Jenin Brigades responded with a commando operation at the illegal Eli settlement. Four settlers were killed and others were seriously wounded. The Palestinian responsible was martyred, and his action prompted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to launch a repeat of 2002’s Operation Defensive Shield.

The latest Battle of Jenin ended with victory for the resistance and confirmed that the Zionist enemy, despite its military power, is weaker than the young Palestinians and their basic weapons. However, the Palestinians possess faith, will, determination and a just cause. Their resistance to the occupation is entirely legitimate under international law. This is the difference between the indigenous people and the usurpers who occupy Palestinian land, and yet fear the local people.

That is why the attack against Jenin intended to eliminate resistance turned into a rout as the Zionist troops rushed to escape. Despite their massive military superiority and use of latest surveillance technology, the occupation forces failed to monitor the movements of the resistance fighters or predict their operations. The delusion of Israel’s deterrence factor that the occupation state gloats about died in the face of the will and determination of a few resistance fighters.

The resistance of the people of Jenin and their determined defence of their camp was a sign that the Almighty does indeed favour them over their enemy. Jenin refugee camp has become the capital of Palestinian resistance in the north of Palestine, just as Gaza is in the south. This is not the first time that the people of Jenin have demonstrated their heroism; several other attempted incursions by the so-called “Israel Defence Forces” have failed over the past couple of years.

The precedent was, of course, in 2002, with Operation Defensive Shield and 12 days of an Israeli offensive in which at least 24 soldiers were killed, including senior officers. The troops withdrew in order to cut their losses, as they did recently.

READ: Israel uses drone to kill resistance cell in Jenin

Israel has used a number of tactics to defeat the Palestinian resistance, and built the apartheid wall in an effort to isolate 1948-occupied Palestine from the West Bank. Even that didn’t work, and nor has the feted Iron Dome missile defence system, which has not prevented resistance rockets from reaching their targets deep inside Israel.

Ever since the Palestine Liberation Organisation signed the cursed 1993 Oslo Accords with the Israeli enemy after the First Intifada, it has been clear that the uprising so shook the occupation state that it needed a poisonous deal to protect itself. The occupation state was duly recognised by the PLO, which abandoned armed struggle to liberate the land. The resultant Palestinian Authority and its security services exist solely to protect Israel. The independent state of Palestine promised by Oslo has still failed to materialise after thirty years of the “peace process”, which has kept the Palestinians talking and bought Israel more time to steal more Palestinian land. Today, less than 20 per cent of historic Palestine is available for this imaginary “independent” state, and that percentage is getting smaller by the day.

The Second (“Al-Aqsa”) Intifada started on 28 September 2000, and restored the spirit of resistance to the Palestinian people under the late Yasser Arafat, who returned from the US frustrated by his Camp David meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak under the auspices of President Bill Clinton. He confirmed that there is no point in peace agreements with the Israeli entity; that they created mirages that disappeared quickly, including the establishment of the Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital and the return of the Palestinian refugees to their land.

These were hopes that the Palestinians had after Oslo, but they woke up to the reality that they were required to return to the struggle to liberate Palestine. Meanwhile, the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, did not abandon the Palestinian struggle for all of Palestine from the River Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea. There is no other way to achieve this other than through legitimate resistance.

Arafat was besieged in his compound in Ramallah, and then poisoned in 2004 as punishment for the Aqsa Intifada. The Israeli enemy withdrew its illegal settlers and troops from the Gaza Strip in 2005, but still assassinated Hamas leaders Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, Dr Abdulaziz Al-Rantisi and others. It also imposed a complete air, land and sea blockade on the Palestinian people in Gaza after Hamas won the “free and fair” Palestinian Legislative Council election in 2006. None of this weakened the strength of the resistance, nor did it undermine its resolve, or weaken the Palestinian people who are ready to make huge sacrifices in order to liberate their land. Facing six major Israeli military offensives over the past few years, they have suffered a lot for their right to live in freedom with their dignity intact.

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The Zionist enemy has failed to bring the Palestinian people to their knees in Gaza, Jenin, Nablus and Jerusalem, just as it has failed to defeat Hamas. Now there is a new generation of young Palestinians taking up the resistance banner. Neither their abandonment by the Arabs who have normalised relations with the apartheid state, nor international complicity in the crimes against them will stop them from exercising their right to liberate their occupied land from Israeli occupation. The flame of resistance burns fiercely every day across all of the occupied Palestinian territories.

There is no doubt that there is hope for the great Palestinian nation, for it cannot be defeated and forever turns the tables with its innovation and ingenuity in the means of its resistance and struggle. This new generation includes the great-grandchildren of the Palestinians who were expelled from their land and displaced during the 1948 Nakba. They’ve never known a free Palestine, but even those living in forced exile keep their land alive in their hearts and minds. The early Israelis claimed that the old Palestinians will die and the young will forget, but that hasn’t happened. Yes, the old have died, but they passed the keys and the responsibility to the young, keeping the flame of resistance alive. This is at the core of the Spirit of Palestine, and it is a story encapsulated by the people of Jenin. Long live the Palestinian people, free and dignified.

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Disclaimer: Jenin tells the story of Palestine - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect point-of-view

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